4,947. 4/10/2003

“Eager to encourage the emergence of pro-American Muslim leaders in Iraq, the CIA arranged in early April 2003 for a moderate Shiite cleric, Abd al-Majid al-Kho’i, to fly into Iraq from his exile in London. …the agency believed he could be a stabilizing influence in the Shiite community. The decision to fly him into Iraq was made over the objections of CIA officers in the field, who warned that conditions in the country were still too dangerous. But the warnings were ignored, and on April 10, 2003, al-Kho’i was murdered in Najaf almost as soon as he had returned to Iraq. American officials suspected that radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was behind the murder, in order to eliminate a potential rival for clerical leadership.”

 – James Risen, State of War, Page 140

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